Su-Zakana is a traditional appetizer that cleans the palate. After last week's… curious events, it's a welcome change. Don't get me wrong: it's one of the strangest hours of television Bryan Fuller's brought us yet (which is saying something). It's also reminiscent of the first season formula, while staying mindful of where the Cannibal is now. [Spoilers below.]
First things first: throughout the episode, there is no mention whatsoever of Miriam Lass, or Dr. Chilton's fate. None. You'd think someone would mention it, but with everything else going on this week, it's understandable that they'd leave it out.
Will and Jack are trout fishing, while Will sips from a flask and outlines his strategy for catching his prey: "Your lure is the one thing he wants— in spite of everything he knows." Will smiles with tempered confidence. "I'm a good fisherman, Jack." This is a Will Graham that's been tried and tested, and came out on the other side, stronger for it. He knows Hannibal, now. And he's gonna get 'im.
Hannibal fastidiously prepares Will's catch, discussing Nietzsche and the bonds of shared trauma. Hannibal lets himself be amused. It seems everyone's willing to let bygones be bygones.
And that's about the time a guy pulls a dead woman out of a horse. … I feel the need to point out that yes, she is dead, because during her autopsy, agents Price and Zeller find a living, breathing bird stuffed between the woman's ribs. How the bird survived so long without a pesky thing like oxygen is a riddle for the ages, but there it is. This is our A-plot, folks.
The episode's mystery has layers—not unlike a bird in a woman in a horse. What we see is true, but it isn't the whole story. To wit, the man that plants a woman's body in a horse isn't necessarily the man that killed her.
The primary suspect is a stable hand, played beautifully by Jeremy Davies. He keeps to himself, he's visibly disturbed, and has access to the stables. The other suspect is his case worker, a man that is perfectly put together (played by Chris Diamantopoulos)… but there's nothing underneath. Frankly, this episode is too good to give everything away, so do please go watch it.
The important thing to take away is that Will is back on the case, investigating the bizarre and unthinkable— as if nothing happened. That's the essential ingredient that makes this episode a palate cleanser—how it prepares us for the next course:
Once upon a time, there were two wealthy twins named Mason and Margot Verger. Mason got whatever he wanted, no matter what. If he wanted to make his sister cry and drink her tears in his martini, he did. We're introduced to Margot Verger, slammed against a glass floor by her off-screen brother. We see nothing of his face, which only helps to dehumanize him. (Although I'm willing to bet someone stood in for Mason's voice—that sounded nothing like Michael Pitt.)
Margot finally attacks her brother and asks for help. It isn't long before she's introduced to a very special psychiatrist… named Hannibal. He coaches her on the finer points of defending herself. Namely, if she's going to try again to kill her brother, she should wait until she can get away with it… or find someone to do it for her.
Finally, this episode affords us insight into Hannibal's way of thinking. It's entirely possible that his agenda of framing Will for his crimes was a means, not an end. Will's journey through hell has brought him out on the other side stronger, more resolved, and incidentally, a more fit companion for Hannibal. They come together for 'therapy' not as doctor and patient, but as equals. Will looks on Hannibal and doesn't flinch. This may be what he wanted all along.